The Orc and the Tower
The Orc and the Tower is an illustrated Choose Your Own Adventure-style story with a sword and sorcery theme.
I draw the scenarios and my patrons get to vote on what happens next! It got it's name from the character patrons voted to continue as from this initial lineup. Here's what's happened so far...
You have just stepped onto the dock of a foreign land in search of your fortune.
You are a...
...an Orc in a loincloth!
The moon is rising as you leave the wharf.
Wandering through the cobbled streets you hear talk of an evil wizard’s tower, perched atop a cliff at the very edge of the seaside town.
The riches of a king and the dastardly guardians are said to inhabit the tower in equal measure, but you find yourself losing interest and head toward the tower before you hear any real specifics.
Upon reaching the outer gardens surrounding the tower you are faced with the tower’s imposing shape in the moonlight.
Rough cut stones make up its surface with balconies jutting out from the higher levels, it looks climbable.
Golden light pours through the cracks in a heavy wooden door at the front of the tower. You stand in the shadows of a pine tree outside listening to the frogs sing in the pond at the foot of the tower.
The pond is fed by a spring contained within the base of the tower. It trickles out through a small tunnel with a grated entrance below you.
It’s time to see what's inside, after considerable internal debate you...
...take the wet way and pry open the tunnel entrance.
The Orc and the Tower: Pt 2
You wade quietly through the shallow pond as a shaft of pale moonglow falls upon the rusted bars that impede your trespass into the tower.
Using the anchor as a pry bar, you wrench at the grate with your thickly corded muscles. The rusted iron hinges groan and then obediently give way with a sharp shriek of rending metal.
Your passage down the tunnel is clumsy with anchor in tow,
but the sound is masked by the sound of flowing water, which gradually deepens as you head toward a faint green glow ahead. The sound of quiet moaning and panting breath reverberates off the slick stone walls.
You peer into the chamber from the shadows of the tunnel to find the origin of the sound:
The squirming, supple form of a blue sprite suspended in bondage. They are bound by the vines of a hideous flowering plant that grows from the horny skull of a long dead horny giant.
The devilish union of flora and fertilizer seems to be drinking in the very power of the poor sprite,
who writhes, trapped on the edge of satisfaction. This sprite is very powerful indeed, and the plant seems to be growing before your very eyes.
A large jewel bathes the scene in an eerie, pulsing green glow from its mounting high above the tableau.
The growing plant seems to throb in time with the pulsing light and the room is thick with an arousing smell.
You leap from the water and...
...attempt to wrestle the demon plant into submission to free the spriteling, lest they be torn asunder in its fury from a direct assault.
The Orc and the Tower: Pt 3
You hurl yourself upon the rooted devil, your brawny arms grabbing for the stalk of the plant that binds the sprite attempting to squeeze it into submission.
The leaves give a brittle shake around you as you squeeze the stalk ever tighter. New vines spring up about your feet causing you to lose your footing, but not your grasp on the wicked plant. The pulsing jewel begins to burn angrily brighter.
You feel the great stalk above your muscles begin to wither and bend,
even as you are being lifted off the ground. You give the spriteling an encouraging grin as they strive to free themselves and cling to you, their rescuer.
The jewel’s glow becomes a furious throbbing,
the light glinting off the dank dungeon walls with intensity to match your own sweating exertion as you strain against the coiled vines to defeat the devil plant.
The plant’s vines tighten around you as the jewels' light becomes a searing brightness until, with a sound like a thunderclap, it shatters.
All at once the spriteling is freed from the plant’s withering grasp. Having lost its life-sustaining captive, and exhausted the power of the jewel, the enchantment fades and the evil vine withers beneath you.
A faint light becomes apparent in the now darkened room, emanating from a staircase leading upward.
Which you must yet climb to claim the tower’s riches. The grateful spriteling, having showered you with gratitude for your heroism, gives you a gift before they depart.
The gift is...
...a belted loincloth of protection woven from the enchanted vines of the now dead plant.
The Orc and the Tower Pt.4
After catching their breath, the spriteling works their magic upon the shriveled vines,
fastening them into a fine loincloth to replace yours that was wrested from your body in the fight.
You slip the loincloth on and feel a warm tingle as it touches your skin,
the woven vines seem to pleasantly hug at your hips rather than biting in like your old garb. You feel somehow protected and rejuvenated.
Upon ascending the dim stairs you find a room with two doors.
Both seem to lead upwards but where one is rather warm to the touch, the other seems to have tendrils of cold air seeping around the cracks in the door.
The Orc and the Tower Pt.5
You have found the tower’s vault of riches, enchanted to be bigger than the tower’s exterior would suggest.
The room is guarded by an immense dragon and a goat demon.
You weigh your options and decide to…
You step forward, grasp the warm metal door handle and pull.
The door swings open on silent hinges, helped along by a furnace’s blast of heat and the scent of rare spices. The initial shock makes your head spin and knees weak. Upon regaining your composure, you creep forward quietly.
Their attention is diverted and your already silent footfalls are masked by the din of demonic snorting and molten sizzling.
You see an opportunity to steal some treasure, but each is more daring than the last.
You creep silently forward into the great chamber, clinging to shadows
before hurrying to safety in a small arch under the dragon’s tail, which twitches slightly but does not move further.The din of the enormous, distracted beasts echoes around the chamber as you spot your prize
A stream of molten liquid sizzles its way down a sloping pile of gold nearby, creating a smokescreen accompanied by the smell of fifty blacksmith’s furnaces.
You are sweating freely in the stifling heat. Out of all the treasures, you seek the spoils of wars fought with enchantment and won by treachery. You immediately recognize the most valuable because they have names you know from legends and tales in reverent and often fearful whispers.
The Orc and the Tower Pt.6
The smokescreen will not last and your presence may be discovered if you linger much longer.
There's no danger that has yet proven a match for your greed. The only question in your mind is how much you can take.
Your hands reach for...
Your greedy eyes roam across the treasures but your gaze lingers upon three items.
The Greataxe of Ure Thura, Shield of Mesmera and the punishing Queen Dominell's own whip, Torment.
You fill your arms with deadly spoils, leaving the ordinary anchor behind.
You hasten back into the safety of darkness, urged on by the sound of escalating grunts and moans of the chamber's guardians above you. Suddenly your ears prick at the sound of another's footfalls behind you.
The Orc and the Tower Pt.7
You turn quickly and see a diminutive figure in cloak and hat.
Could it be another thief has chosen this night to plunder the tower?
The figure stoops and picks up the Golden Charms of Baal.
The shrill peal of enormous bells pierces the air, echoing from the depths to the vaulted ceiling above.
Those are not the Golden Charms of Baal, but the Giant Bells of Klaxxonitus!!
The beasts are only momentarily stunned by the eerie ringing.
The dragon's long neck swings wide to belch a torrent of flames after the other thief, who now races after you along the path to a narrow stone bridge. A titanic shadow sweeps over you as your bare feet pound across the archway.
The goat demon's enormous paw tears the rock bridge loose.
The dim silhouette of the stranded thief stands on the opposite cliff, looking panicked.
You quickly decide to...
The Orc and the Tower Pt.8
The thief takes a flying leap and catches the other end of the whip, swinging down toward the cliff below you.
The Bells of Klaxxonitus, create an appalling din as she bounces off the cliff face, narrowly avoiding a jet of flame loosed by the dragon behind her. In the harsh flame's light you recognize her.
She is the plucky little goblin sneak you saw on the pier.
With a single heft of your massive strength you easily lift her out of danger of the dragon's flames.
Though you have aided her escape from the dragon's breath, the two of you are not yet out of danger.
The goat demon's mighty claws descend again, attempting to crush you.
You seize your chance!
Nimbly avoiding the demon's claws as they pierce and crack the ledge beside you, you vault over the enormous hand, piercing it with the Greataxe of Ure Thura.
The Greataxe sticks in the iron tendons of the goat demon's hand and is wrested from your grip.
But you manage to escape through the doorway without losing any more treasure. You flee down the narrow hallway as angry cries and jets of flame give chase, but the beasts cannot reach you.
The twisting hall leads you to a quiet, furnished room.
A strange smelling incense sends tendrils of smoke up among the rafters as a fire crackles merrily in the hearth near two comfortable-looking armchairs.
An impressive chest with a rusty lock stands against the far wall. To its left,there is a darkened doorway with stairs leading upward. To its right, there is a large set of double doors with shiny brass knobs.
You hurl one end of the whip to the stranded thief.
After a look around the room, you decide to...
The Orc and the Tower Pt.9
The goblin sneak is quick to agree after being so recently rescued from certain death.
She scurries across the room and mounts the mantle.
You accept the charming gesture and take a seat by the fire,
the goblin shows no end of gratitude, pushing up the other chair for you to rest your feet upon while telling you of her travels.
You decide to rest by the fire.
The fire crackles merrily while you consider…
Liberating it from its place on the wall, the goblin offers the well-polished (and freshly stolen) Mammazonian Axe to you in a gesture of gratitude, doffing her hat as she does so.
Evidently she feels badly for the greataxe you sacrificed to save her.
The goblin stands, wrapping her cloak around herself in a theatrical fashion and with a wink, asks if you would like to see a trick she learned from a Burlesian court dancing girl.
The goblin sneak proudly explains that much of her attire was once royal property, stolen from within the Castle of Burle.
Most recently she acquired the cloak and accompanying wand from a royal diviner, the long, fine silk stocking from a noblewoman and and the short one from an arrogant royal guard.
She would have his boot too, but those he took with him when he fell from the parapet.